I’m a huge fan of memberships, after all, who doesn’t want monthly recurring revenue?! But as they increase in popularity, at the same time as I want to champion them as a fantastic business model, I also want to add a caveat to that and share with you the lessons I have learned over the last 3 years of running The Cocoon online business club.
The Cocoon is the inner sanctum of The Mumpreneur Collective, it’s a safe place to learn, evolve & grow as a business owner. This is a monthly subscription group where you pay a fee to have access to an extensive library of business training, on-hand experts to give you bespoke advice, member calls, promo opportunities, Facebook live sessions and an incredibly nurturing community of women just like you, building & scaling their businesses around family life.
A membership should not be confused with online courses. An online course takes you from A to B and normally has a specific outcome. You’re also only creating the content once, and then people pay a one off fee for it.
With a membership, you create new content on a monthly basis, and people pay a recurring fee to have access to it.
Before starting my membership I really had no idea what a constant learning curve it would be. I have spent 1000’s of hours and invested £1000’s in learning about memberships and how to provide the best possible experience for my members, and in this post I want to share some of those things with you.
This will be fundamental to the success of your membership. Is there a need for what you’re offering? Are you hitting the right spot with your content? What kind of resources do they want & need? You need to be hyper connected to what your audience wants in order to create a membership that will appeal to them.
Asking someone to commit to a monthly payment can be more of a challenge than you might imagine, and to make it a ‘no brainer’ for them to join, you need to understand EXACTLY what their pain points are (their challenges), where they want to go and what’s stopping them from getting there.
The listening doesn’t stop there either. Once you have launched you need to be constantly checking in with your members, finding out what’s working well and what needs adding or tweaking. This is an ongoing and evolving process.
Depending on the type of membership you are setting up, it’s going to take a lot of your energy, and if you’re including a community element, you must be prepared to get visible and be the one to welcome people, engage with people, and deal with any issues which may arise. If you’re already feel stretched across multiple projects, adding a membership into the mix will only make it worse. Make sure you have the time to dedicate to it.
I first launched The Cocoon using Wix, which I really enjoyed using and built several website sites on for my previous businesses. However I soon found that I wasn’t able to get the functionality I needed and wanted to create a slicker experience, especially as I was now effectively an e-commerce site after launching my paid membership. I invested in having a bespoke site made on Joomla using the MembershipPro plugin. However, within a couple of years I was frustrated at the limitations of that, especially the fact that I couldn’t add and edit things easily myself, as Joomla was a lot more complicated to use than Wix drag and drop!
I have just launched my 3rd website in as many years (arg!), this time using Kajabi, and I have to say it’s the best move I have ever made. Kajabi is an all-in-one platform designed exclusively for memberships and online courses. It has video hosting, email marketing, landing pages, analytics all included and this has streamlined my business dramatically, but also just as importantly it has improved my customer user experience ten fold.
My biggest tip - think this through, invest in the right software & support, and get your tech right from the start to save you the headaches I have had!
[Want to know exactly what my tech set up looks like? Check out the masterclass coming to The Cocoon!]
Don’t be fooled. Running a membership is a long term commitment. It takes a lot of work to get it off the ground, and then you will need to create fresh content every month, keep your customers happy, continually market it and work on new ways to bring extra value and stay at the top of your game.
Running a membership is NOT a side project. This is not ‘passive’ income. Yes, there are lots of ways to structure a membership, some can be more simplistic, but don’t underestimate the amount of work you will need to put in - and keep putting in to it.
I have to end by saying that running The Cocoon business club is incredibly rewarding, and being able to support these women over the months and years that they are building and scaling their businesses is an absolute privilege. It makes all the hard graft worthwhile when they tell me what a difference being a member has made to them - not only to their business, but to their happiness and confidence as a business owner.
As a membership site owner you not only have the potential to make great recurring income, but also the power to make a positive impact on many people's lives by offering them ongoing support and guidance.
If you’d like more practical advice on launching your membership, join us over in The Cocoon where I am creating a masterclass on this very subject. I also offer 1:1 mentoring sessions to help you map out and launch your membership, so get in touch if that’s of interest.
[This post does include an affiliate link for Kajabi, which means if you sign up I receive a thank you payment. However I am recommending it because I genuinely think it's awesome and will help you ten fold if you're creating a membership or online course]
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